DISCLAIMER: Squaresoft owns everything, I'm just a harmless hentai, yadda yadda yadda.

WARNING: This is officially part of the uber-angst bunny, which is my alternative LxS arc, not to be confused with the happy fluffy bunny arc that spawned "Tease" and "Would you, Could you" and "Make a Wish", etc, wherein nobody except the couple, Kiros, Ward, Ellone and (later) Zell know about the family side of the relationship. In the angst bunny, "Afraid to Love", the news of President Loire's long lost son made the rounds before they got together and things are alot more tense and... well... angsty.

Author's Notes: Quoted lyrics: Michelle Branch, "Here with You". (AtL is being written the way I do BattleGrounds - seperate small vignette fics, all out of order. This is not the beginning. It may be the middle. It's certainly not the end.)

Afraid to Love: Don't Ask

By Black Rose

you know that silence is loud
when all you hear is your heart
and i wanted so badly just to be a part
of something strong and true...

"I want to know," you said. "Anything. Everything about you."

I lay next to you in the dark and the only thing I can think is that no... no, you don't. Not really.

How did you do it? How did you serve those years in the Galbadian army and come out the way you are? Alive. *Innocent*. I don't remember ever being innocent; if I was, the memory has been stripped away like so much flayed skin. You're more than twice my age... why do I feel the elder?

It hurts you. You flinch every time I mention field work, the possibility of live combat. I saw the look in your eyes when I mentioned the loss of my junctions was probably going to put me flat on my back for a few weeks. There's hate in your voice when you say his name, your gaze lingering on the scar between my eyes - and for what? A training scar. I have dozens of them, we practiced with live steel and accidents happen. But that one you can place a name to and it makes you angry.

You don't want to know. Not really. You fought in a war, you killed, I know for fact you were wounded more than once. But somehow... somehow it didn't touch you. The things I take for granted still hurt you. You're happier with formless worries, without knowing the details of the reality.

You don't want to know that I took my first junction when I was nine, or that it laid me out for four of the most miserable days of my life. You don't want to know that we started training with live steel when I was twelve, or that I killed fifteen men the day of my field test. You don't want to know what it feels like to do that - is that why you took the machine gun as your weapon? To keep it all at a clean distance, instead of so close that you can feel the shock of flesh and bone under your hands and the splash of blood hot across your face?

You don't want to know that I know that, or that I that I take it for granted.

You don't want to know that Galbadia uses electroshock or drugs in their prisons. You don't want to know how casting too many spells too quickly leaves charred blisters across your palms. You don't want to know how much blood a man can lose, or how much pain he can take, and still stay on his feet. You don't want to know that I've lost count of the number of life spells that have been used on me to jolt my heart back into beating.

You don't want to know that I earned the nickname "icequeen" not for any junction but because I didn't fucking give a damn. You asked where I learned to have a taste for it rough; you laughed and asked if you should be jealous. I told you no because it's the only thing I could tell you without lying - you don't want to know that I learned it from *him*, or that he did it because pain was the only thing I could feel. You don't want to know how many years we fucked, or that fucking was all it was - his body and mine, and the blood, the cuts, the bruises only gave us both the edge we needed. You don't want to know that I needed that.

You say you want to know everything. I say I don't know where to start... because I don't. I don't think I can start. I don't want to hide things from you; I am what I have been, no more, no less. If you ask me, I won't lie to you.

But I don't want to hurt you.

I've sorted through the years of my life left in my memory for something - anything - that I can tell you. All the things I take so much for granted, all of the things that are just part of my life... every one of them is going to hurt you somehow. I would change who I am for you if I could, but we can't change the past and you *don't* want to know.

Keep your questions. I'll keep my silence. Why delve into the past when we have today? The future is going to be hard enough, I don't want to make it harder. I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to see the anger and pain in your eyes when we both know there's nothing that can be done about it.

My life is crumbling around me and your arms, in the dark, are the only thing I have to hold to any more. I've never felt this before. I've never wanted this before. I don't know how to do this right. They didn't teach us how to live, only how to kill.

Don't make me hurt you.

Laguna... please. Don't ask.

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